Henry Fox Bourne

(1837—1909) writer and campaigner for the rights of indigenous peoples

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Henry Fox Bourne was born in Jamaica on 24 December 1837 and died in Torquay on 2 February 1909. He was one of eight children of Stephen Bourne, a magistrate and anti-slavery campaigner. The family moved to British Guiana in 1841 and to London in 1848. Fox Bourne entered London University in 1856, attending lectures by John Morley, whose assistant and friend he was later to become. He became a clerk in the War Office in 1855, also following a literary career, as contributor to Morley's Examiner and Charles Dickens's Household Words; in the 1860s he published a number of works on sixteenth and seventeenth-century English history. He retired from the War Office in 1870, purchasing the ownership of the Examiner, which in his hands proved a financial failure; he sold it in 1873. He was editor of the radical Weekly Dispatch from 1876 to 1887, where he was a critic of Gladstone; his opposition to the Home Rule Bill of 1886 led to his retirement. He devoted the rest of his life to the affairs of the Aborigines Protection Society, which was dedicated to the protection of native races especially in Africa and particularly in the Congo and South Africa. He also denounced the British military occupation of Egypt, advocating self-government. His obituarist in The Times wrote ‘He was a man of pronounced opinion, but generally of extreme moderation in their expression’ (5 February 1909).


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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